An incredible copy of the band’s 1975 release, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
One of our favorite albums here at Better Records and clearly the band’s Masterpiece – the bass and dynamics on the better pressings make this a Demo Disc on the right system
4 stars [but we give it 5]: “Cut from the same cloth as the band’s 1973 Deliver the Word LP, War’s 1975 Why Can’t We Be Friends? is a masterpiece in its scope and breadth. [It] remains one of War’s truly outstanding efforts, and has become an integral part of the funk genre’s landscape. It also remains the nightcap of their finest hour.”
Engineered by the brilliant Chris Huston, this recording displays all his trademark gifts. His mixes feature lots of bass; huge, room-filling choruses that get loud without straining or becoming congested; and rhythmic energy that few pop recordings could lay claim to in 1975.
Low Rider sounds AWESOME on this one. This is the kind of record you can take to any stereo store or audiophile friend’s house and bring their stereos to their knees. Audiophile systems are rarely designed to play this kind of music at the levels it demands, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be. Records like this are the challenge we audiophiles need to make our stereos even better. When the music is this good it’s worth the effort
What superb sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1975
Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides of this Shootout Winning copy – fairly quiet vinyl too
Thanks to the brilliant engineering of Chris Huston, the sound is War at its best: big, rich, smooth and clear, with the kind of low end whomp that few rock records from the era can claim
4 Stars: “A smooth blend of the band’s more progressive jazz-rock fusion, the LP shot to the top of the R&B charts, their second of four number one records in a row. It was a perfect tonic to the mediocre MOR music rampaging its way through the early part of the decade…A magical ride with plenty of surprises to keep the listener on his or her toes, this set is a perfect example of the band at their genre-fusing best.”
Engineered by the brilliant Chris Huston, this recording displays all his trademark gifts. His mixes feature lots of bass; huge, room-filling choruses that get loud without straining or becoming congested; and rhythmic energy that few pop recordings could lay claim to in 1972.
As for the choruses, allow me to paraphrase our listing from Commoner’s Crown.
This is one of the rare pop/rock albums that actually has actual, measurable, serious dynamic contrasts in its levels as it moves from the verses to the choruses of many songs. The first track on side two, Four Cornered Room, is a perfect example. Not only are the choruses noticeably louder than the verses, but later on in the song the choruses get REALLY LOUD, louder than the choruses of 99 out of 100 rock/pop records we audition. It sometimes takes a record like this to open your ears to how compressed practically everything else you own is.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Richness and weight are key to the sound, but oddly enough an extended top end was almost as crucial to the success of the best copies. When the top end extends, the sound is open and relaxed. When the various songs build to their climaxes, the copies with lots of clean top end had a sense of “ease” that simply was not to be found on the smoother (read: duller) brethren.(more…)
This White Hot Stamper Side Two is proof positive that the master tape used to cut the album back in 1973 was right here in the good old U. S. of A. The sound is positively JUMPING out of the speakers, like nothing you’ve ever heard before from this band — especially if you have a British pressing of the album. The sound has real life to it, unlike the sound on the import pressings of the album. Once you’ve played a good domestic pressing such as this one, it’s obvious that the Brit vinyl is made from sub-generation copy tapes. The imports sound like someone threw a blanket over your speakers.
We know this because we had a bunch of them cleaned up for our shootout and they all sucked. We always buy Electric Light Orchestra records on import vinyl; those are the ones that sound the best, the domestic pressings time and again sounding as though they were mastered from dub tapes. But On The Third Day is proof that this is not always the case, just as Siren proves that the best Roxy Music albums are not always British. Live and learn I guess.(more…)
This outstanding copy of the band’s third studio album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
This domestic LP is proof that the master tape used to cut the album in 1973 was right here in the good old U.S. of A.
“Electric Light Orchestra’s third album showed a marked advancement, with a fuller, more cohesive sound from the band as a whole and major improvements in Jeff Lynne’s singing and songwriting.”
“The ELO’s blending of rock drums, pop violins, a semiclassical feel in the sweep of these same violins, the midrange colors of the cello, and a vocal blend that reminds one of the Beatles in their sophisticated studio days, makes up all the key elements in their music.”
Once you’ve played a good domestic pressing, it’s obvious that the Brit vinyl is made from sub-generation copy tapes. The imports make it sound like someone threw a blanket over your speakers.
We know this because we had a bunch of them cleaned up for our first big shootout in 2010 and they all sucked. We always buy Electric Light Orchestra records on import vinyl; those are the ones that sound the best, the domestic pressings time and again sounding as though they were mastered from dub tapes.
But On The Third Day is proof that this is not always the case, just as Siren proves that the best Roxy Music albums are not always British. Live and learn I guess.(more…)
It’s obvious, or should be, that the Brit vinyl is made from sub-generation copy tapes. The imports sound like someone threw a blanket over your speakers. We know this because we had a bunch of them cleaned up for our shootout many years ago and they all sucked.
We tend to buy Electric Light Orchestra records on import vinyl; those are the ones that often sound the best. Many of the domestic pressings sound as though they were mastered from dub tapes.
But On The Third Day is proof that this is not always the case, just as Siren proves that the best Roxy Music albums are not always British.(more…)
An outstanding vintage pressing of Eldorado with solid Double Plus (A++) sound and vinyl that’s about as quiet as can be found
This pressing showed us a big, lively, musically involving Eldorado, one of the toughest nuts to crack in the entire ELO canon
There are some really awful UK pressings out there (and lots of bad domestics to be sure), so if you like the thrill of the hunt, make sure you have plenty of time and money to spend
5 stars: “Eldorado was strongly reminiscent in some ways of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not that it could ever have the same impact or be as distinctive, but it had its feet planted in so many richly melodic and varied musical traditions, yet made it all work in a rock context, that it did recall the Beatles classic.”
As a result of Jeff Lynne’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production approach, it’s the rare copy that provides enough transparency and resolution to bring out all the elements in the incredibly dense mixes — with strings! – that Lynne favors. But when you find a copy that does, what a THRILL it is.(more…)
The toughest test on side two is the first track, Stranger to Himself. Getting the voices right is practically impossible. If the voices are full, smooth, yet breathy and clear, you have that rare copy that actually gets the midrange right. Not many do.
In-Depth Track Commentary
The last portion of this track has some really interesting percussion and organ effects. Traffic were trying to break out of the standard pop song format by letting this song wander into psychedelic territory for a few minutes at the end. It’s now become my favorite part of the song. The reason you want to pay close attention to this part is because it helps you to judge the transparency, immediacy, and top end extension for the whole side. It should be amazingly clear and open-sounding. On too many pressings, the percussion instruments are blurred and lost in the mix. On a Hot Stamper copy they’ll be right in front of you, allowing you to appreciate the interplay among the musicians as they contributed their various parts.(more…)
Two excellent sides with each rating Double Plus (A++) or close to it
The singers and musicians are balanced by a big, solid piano – this kind of fullness and solidity are key to the best copies
The title track and Vincent sound great here, and the vinyl plays about as quiet as we can find
“If you’ve ever cried because of a rock & roll band or album, or lain awake nights wondering or sat up talking through the dawn about Our Music and what it all means and where it’s all going and why, if you’ve ever kicked off your shoes to dance or wished you had the chance, if you ever believed in Rock & Roll, you’ve got to have this album.” – Rolling Stone
This Number One album from 1971 has surprisingly excellent sound on both sides. It’s dynamic too — the end of American Pie gets good and loud, with a very solid piano holding it all together.(more…)
A stunning copy of this Traffic Classic with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to the last
Both sides have the vintage analog sound we love – rich and smooth, with plenty of Tubey Magic, bottom end weight and studio space
Arguably their best album, certainly their most groundbreaking, original and involving – Low Spark would rank a close second
“…the band sounds utterly grounded. As the grooves percolate effortlessly along, it becomes clear that unity, not any technical skill, is what makes the music levitate.”
This killer United Artists LP has the sound we love on Barleycorn (and pretty much any Classic Rock album from the era). It’s rich, smooth, sweet; in short, it has the sound you find only on the best vintage vinyl.
Note that we do not say “original” — some of our highest scoring copies were on the second, plain brown label. We believe the term vintage is more accurate. “Old” works well too for that matter. Stick with the stuff from the ’70s and you’ll save yourself a lot of grief (not to mention dough) chasing after the kind of analog sound that is found practically nowhere else.(more…)